MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team dropped the second game of a three-game series to No. 3 TCU, 8-6, on Saturday afternoon.
A record crowd of 3,415 fans saw the game at Monongalia County Ballpark, the largest home crowd in program history.
The Mountaineers (20-13, 7-4 Big 12) scored runs in each of the first four innings, but the third-ranked Horned Frogs (28-6, 9-2 Big 12) rallied with a run in the sixth and five runs in the eighth inning. The loss evened the series at 1-1, after WVU claimed a 5-4 walk-off victory in last night’s opener.
“Yeah that’s pretty obvious,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said of WVU’s youth on the mound. “We usually play intersquads every Wednesday, and for the guys that don’t pitch much, that’s their time to shine and earn their innings. The only difference is that on Wednesdays its intersquads and there’s nobody in the stands and the team they are facing isn’t ranked in the top five in the nation. So it’s hard to simulate what they went through today, but if you want to perform at this level and if we want this program to go where it’s going to go, this is the type of stage you need to perform in. They’ll get better from it, they are all, I think everybody we ran out in the last two innings was a freshman, and that’s literally their first time in an atmosphere like that. We like to call that expensive experience because it costs us a win, probably costs us first place in the league, but expensive experience is still experience, so that’s the best teacher. I believe that the next time those guys go out there, they will be better for it.”
Sophomore right-hander Michael Grove
had another strong start, allowing two earned runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and three walks in 7.0 innings. Grove had his fourth quality start of the year, all coming in his last four starts. A week after taking a perfect game into the eighth inning, the Wheeling, West Virginia, native struck out at least eight batters for the fifth time in his last six starts.
Offensively, junior left fielder Kyle Davis
and sophomore shortstop Jimmy Galusky
both homered and had a team-high-tying two RBIs. Freshman right fielder Brandon White
had a team-leading and career-high-tying three hits.
West Virginia jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on sophomore third baseman Cole Austin
’s RBI single to left field. The base hit scored sophomore second baseman Kyle Gray
, who led off the inning with a single.
After Grove threw a 1-2-3 top of the second, the Mountaineers added two runs in the bottom of the frame on Galusky’s home run down the left field line. The homer, his second of the season, scored sophomore designated hitter Braden Zarbnisky
Grove retired TCU in order again in the third inning, and again WVU answered with a two-run home run to make it 5-0. This time it was Davis, who’s shot to left sailed just inside the left field foul pole and scored sophomore right fielder Darius Hill
. It was his fourth home run of the year and 18th of his career.
TCU got on the board with a run in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI single with two outs, but West Virginia answered in the bottom half, on Hill’s single to left-center that scored senior first baseman Jackson Cramer
The Horned Frogs scored one in the sixth inning on a home run by Evan Skoug, which cut the Mountaineer lead to 6-2, before the visitors plated five in the eighth to take a 7-6 lead, their first of the series since the first inning on Friday night.
With the bases loaded and no outs, senior righty Jackson Sigman
entered the game and got a check-swing ground ball hit right to him on the first pitch of the at-bat to Luken Baker. Sigman got the double play, throwing home for the first out. A two-RBI single off of freshman right-hander Cody Wood
followed, which made it a 6-4 game, and a wild pitch made it 6-5. A two-RBI double off of freshman righty Ryan McDonald
scored the go-ahead run.
TCU added its final run on Skoug’s second home run in the ninth inning for the 8-6 final.
The series against TCU concludes on Sunday at noon. The game will be broadcast locally on the Nexstar Media Group’s network of statewide affiliates. Tickets are available, and fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME, purchasing tickets at WVUGAME.com
or at the Mountaineer Ticket Office at Gate A of Monongalia County Ballpark on gameday or in advance at the Gold Gate at the WVU Coliseum.
West Virginia fell to 20-13 on the season and is in third place in the Big 12 with a 7-4 record, a half game out of second place … WVU is 7-4 against top-25 teams and has won 7 of its last 10 games … A record crowd of 3,415 fans were in attendance on Saturday at Monongalia County Ballpark, the largest home crowd in program history … Starter Michael Grove
allowed two earned runs on six hits with nine strikeouts and three walks in 7.0 innings … Grove had his fourth quality start of the year, all coming in his last four starts and has struck out at least eight batters in five of his last six starts … Kyle Davis
hit his fourth home run of the season and 18th of his career … Jimmy Galusky
hit his second home run of the season and third of his career … Brandon White
had a career-high-tying three hits to lead the team.
Single game tickets, flex plan tickets and mini packs for the 2017 WVU baseball season are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME, going to WVUGAME.com
or visiting the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum. The 2017 schedule is available on WVUsports.com